Two West Midlands Railway conductors who met by chance at a bar found love thanks to their mutual love of trains.
The couple - Dan and Sam - first ran into each other in July 2006 when they were both on a night out in Shrewsbury with their separate group of friends.
When they first at the bar, they were strangers and even though they were nervous they were able to find an icebreaker. Dan caught a glimpse of a classic Class 158s train on Sam’s phone and it got them talking.
At the time, one worked at a law firm while the other worked in retail - but together they soon achieved their dreams to work on the railway. Dan and Sam both applied to work as Senior Conductors at West Midlands Trains (operator of West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway) and both succeeded in getting a job there.
Senior Conductor Sam said: “Dan didn’t really want to go out, but he was supporting his friend who was going through a hard time and I was out with some friends from work.
“We ended up at a local venue that was gay friendly, which was also known for having ‘Gay Night’ Mondays, which by 2006 they preferred to call an ‘attitude free’ night as a more all-encompassing venue. As this was a Saturday and not attitude-free night, you certainly weren’t out looking for love, just out for some social drinks.
“I met Dan at the bar, and we got talking. But with us both being young and shy, we needed an ice breaker. Luckily, Dan happened to notice a very pixelated picture on my phone (a colour screen Nokia… very popular at the time may I say) of a pair of Class 158s train. Believe it or not, that was our ice breaker!”
The ice breaker worked out for them, and soon after Dan put his number into Sam’s phone and they went their separate ways. Sam added: “I must admit, I did drunkenly call Dan that evening as we decided to meet up and do the standard thing on a night out and order from the local kebab house. Thereon after, Dan was forever known as ‘Cheeseburger and Chips’ on my phone.
“We ended up dating a short while after we met and realised we had more in common than we first thought. So much so, we got engaged after 4 months and rented our first house together 4 months later.”
Fast forward 11 years, they tied the knot on a beautiful sunny day at a wedding venue on the Shropshire border, which happened to be Dan’s Grandad’s former home.
It was during the honeymoon in the south of France that Sam received the news that he had a start date for his training as a Senior Conductor at West Midlands Trains. He previously worked a 9-5 role at a law firm. So, it ended up being a double celebration!
Nine months later, Dan who had worked shifts in the retail sector for 22 years, joined Sam and also started as a Senior Conductor for West Midlands Trains, albeit at a different depot. However, they were able to get the same shift pattern which was a game-changer as it hugely increased their free time together.
Before the pandemic, they were able to buy their first home together and now happily live with their two cats, two ducks, and two chickens. Sam said: “Who would have thought that all this happened because of a pair of pixelated Class 158s on my phone all those years ago?”
Birmingham will celebrate the Pride weekend on May 27 and 28 and you can join in on the celebration. Those looking to travel to Birmingham by train for the weekend, please visit West Midlands Railway website or London Northwestern Railway website for more information.